Published on February 14th, 2020 | by Nandini Sharma0
6 Tips on Communication and Teamwork to Strengthen Team Collaboration
Collaboration seems to have become a corporate buzzword these days, but that does not establish it as an empty cliche. Rather, the integral role that collaboration plays in team success can be one reason why it has become the talk of the corporate town.
Collaboration can be defined as coming together of several people to work towards achieving a shared goal.
Let us look at some examples to understand collaboration in practical terms:
- A photographer collaborates with a designer to create a cover image. While a photographer clicks the pictures, the designer decides which pictures go with the theme and the layout. For a photograph to make the desired impact on its audience, a photographer has to understand the mindset of a designer and what he wants to represent through a particular design. If both these people won’t be on the same page, the final results will not bring the desired output.
- Similarly, the development department of an organization has to convene regularly with the marketing team to achieve the aimed upon goals.
Collaboration is a constant process. It is ingrained in our day to day life in such a way that we collaborate every day without even realizing that we are at it.
Here are the essential tips for establishing a collaborative environment in your workplace.
Ditch the email for communication
Are you still in the web of email threads for your everyday communications? Are you frustrated with the email overload and being distracted by it?
Well, it’s time to ditch emails for better communication methods in the workplace. You no longer need to shift useful information from emails of different team members and place them in various places and folders across your computer. There are a number of tools out there that can help you communicate effortlessly and collaborate smartly be centralizing all your conversations.
While chat tools like Google Hangouts, Chanty, Slack, etc. help in keeping all your communication streamlined. You can use these chat tools for one to one as well as group chats. Collaboration becomes easier with these chat tools as they cut on excess information that overload our inboxes through email.
An instant chat tool leaves less space for guesswork, saves time, helps in keeping work organized and enhances team engagement. So, it’s time to get over emails for team communication.
Get over micromanagement
It is high time that you get over micromanagement if you are practicing it yet. Every manager needs to understand that their team cannot work effectively unless they stop micromanaging them and show enough faith in their capabilities.
Micromanagement takes away engagement in a way that employees work just to please their managers while they lose real passion for their job. Good working relationships are a must to collaborate better and your team cannot establish good relations until their voice is heard and their opinions are respected.
So, let your employees do the thinking. Be open to discussion, so that they can frequently come and ask questions. Allow them to use their creativity and be responsible. The collaboration will then seem almost effortless as people will work out of passion and not an obligation.
Encourage 2-way feedback
The feedback process, when utilized in the right way, can give rise to an optimum level of collaboration and teamwork. Managers should take care of the fact that feedback should not create boundaries between authorities and employees, rather, it should act as a channel of growth and better communication.
So, a good feedback process should include certain essential steps which are as follows:
- First, ask your employee what they feel about their performance, did they do well. Ask for an elaborated answer.
- Then give your constructive feedback on the same. Make sure you discuss the positives as well as the negatives of the performance in a sincere manner.
- Then ask your employees how they plan to do things better and differently next time. This way you let them set their own goals.
- Then you can add to their plan by showing them some direction on how to go about things to achieve the desired objectives.
This way, the honest feedback process will become an avenue of constructive growth rather than looking like a blame game event. The team members not only confide in you as a manager but also won’t hesitate to walk the extra mile to make the project successful.
Being a manager, you should be able to see what is unique about any team member. Make sure that the distribution of duties is such that the unique qualities of an individual can be used for the overall good of the team as well as their personal growth.
When every individual is given tasks suiting to their capabilities, they are bound to be better engaged and work wholeheartedly as a result of which collaboration will flow out of will and tasks will be completed on time.
Remember, that every person has a different perspective, aura, and thought process. So denying the individuality of your team members won’t help engagement and teamwork.
Respecting the opinions of every member of the team is essential to cultivate a healthy team culture.
Therefore, creating an environment where there are flexible work practices and the personal constraints of employees are taken into consideration, is of paramount importance for better teamwork and communication.
No amount of organizational practices or tools can help your teams do well together if collaborative abilities are not a personality trait of your employees.
So, your hiring process should be effective enough to predict how well a new recruit can act as a team player to achieve your long term goal.
It is a sad truth that interviewers generally limit themselves to ask superfluous questions that make them feel superior and the interviewee inferior. Some of such questions include if given a chance, which state of the U.S. would you want to get rid of and why?
One good idea to incorporate in your hiring process can be making more team members a part of the hiring process so that they can see if that person is the right fit to work with them.
Let’s say as per the HR, the potential candidate has all the required skills but what if his personality clashes with that of the other team members? Hiring him will do more harm than good.
Switch to project management and collaboration tool
Effective collaboration requires a lot more than just communication. Success can be achieved only when all the ends of a project are kept together in an appropriate way. By that, I mean everything from the project plan to the final delivery of a project needs a constant organization throughout.
A project management tool comes in handy if you are looking for an all-in-one solution. A project management solution makes work easier by facilitating planning, increasing visibility and keeping everyone connected.
There are many collaboration software for teams that helps in the management of your projects from beginning to end. A project management solution increases accountability and removes confusion about roles and responsibilities. It becomes a central location to keep all your project files, tasks, chats, discussions, reports, etc. at one central place for everyone’s clarity.
Team members can share files, comment on tasks, collaborate on proofing files, carry on discussions, spot bottlenecks and make suggestions all in one place. Thus, there remains no need to waste time in meetings as all the team can come under one roof in seconds with project management software
These are some simple but essential tips on how a collaborative environment can be cultivated in your workplace. I hope that these tips helped you develop some useful insight on team collaboration and communication.